Kunchev: Measures at national level when Covid-19 morbidity reaches 300 out of 100 000

When an average level of Covid-19 infection exceeds a threshold of more than 300 per 100 000 population in the cities, measures will be required for the whole country and aid for businesses must be granted immediately, Bulgaria’s Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev said in a television interview on August 26.

According to an August 26 update on the website of the National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD), the Covid-19 morbidity rate in Bulgaria currently is 235.49 per 100 000 population, a figure that comes against a background of a deteriorating situation in recent weeks.

Notably, the “national plan” announced by caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov on July 8 says that restrictions would go up if one of two criteria, morbidity rates or hospital occupancy, surpassed the threshold to a higher zone.

In comparison with the figure given by Kunchev, the plan specifies that the threshold for a red zone for morbidity is a range between 250 and 499.9 per 100 000 population.

“We cannot work indefinitely only on the basis of regional measures,” Kunchev told Nova Televizia in an interview.

Earlier this week, Kunchev visited the districts of Bourgas and Veliko Turnovo, the two classified in the most recent NCIPD weekly report as Covid-19 red zones.

However, at meetings with regional health officials, it was agreed that additional measures were currently “not necessary”.

Kunchev said that there were two weapons against Covid-19, vaccination and compliance with the anti-epidemic measures.

“If we can’t reach the desired level of immunisation, it remains for each of us to take care of our own health,” Kunchev said.

“The situation in Veliko Turnovo, Turgovishte and Rousse is serious. This was the reason why today we are organising an operational headquarters in Turnovo, which I assume will be attended by colleagues from the other two districts.

“I expect from them an analysis of the situation and proposals for action. The measures already ordered must be observed. There was a proposal to have discounts on the service of intercity buses so that this would reduce the load on them.

“The reason is that when you travel for two to three hours inside, there is a risk, even when wearing a mask,” he said.

With schools in Bulgaria scheduled to open on September 15, Kunchev said that only about 20 to 30 per cent of teachers in the country had been vaccinated.

“There are two problems,” Kunchev said.

“We say we need to get vaccinated. And society is starting to talk about how we are medical fascists, vaccines are scary and they will not be vaccinated. Okay, then we tell people to follow the measures. And they say it’s discrimination. Accordingly, the result is clear,” he said.

Kunchev, commenting on the effectiveness of vaccines, said: “First, to be fully aware – there is no 100 per cent effective drug in medicine, much less with vaccines.

“The flu vaccine is effective in some years between 60 and 70 per cent. With the Covid vaccine, the effectiveness reaches 92 per cent,” he said.

Kunchev said that in the past week, 93.8 per cent of newly-diagnosed cases of Covid-19 were among people who had not been immunised.

Separately, in an August 26 interview with public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, Medicines Agency head Bogdan Kirilov said that close to 5.5 million doses of vaccines, of the four approved at EU level for use, had been delivered to Bulgaria, and about 2.5 million doses were available.

Kirilov said that about 3000 people in Bulgaria who had received a first dose of a vector vaccine had chosen to receive the second dose from an RNA vaccine.

According to the national information system, as The Sofia Globe reported earlier, as of August 26 a total of 2 256 350 doses of vaccines against Covid-19 have been administered in Bulgaria, including 13 800 in the past day.

The report said that 1 136 584 people in Bulgaria had completed the vaccination cycle, including 8483 in the past day.

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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